The Big Prize Draw is a big hit

UNISON’s prize draw winners joined general secretary Dave Prentis and the union’s sponsors to celebrate the drive’s success

The Big Prize Draw has been a win-win for UNISON members and their union – a point made by everyone attending UNISON Centre this week to congratulate the prize winners and thank the draw sponsors.

Leicester-based Abigail Hunt was our top prize winner, with the British Gas learning and development co-ordinator scooping £10,000.

She and her partner already had a holiday booked – “a cruise around the Med in a couple of weeks” – but the unexpected windfall “means we can treat ourselves.”

Beyond that, she explains, “I want to use it for something special, so I’m going to take my time.”

And did she have any message for her fellow members?

“Number one – enter prize draws, because somebody has to win it!

“Number two – UNISON is a great organisation to be with. You always feel supported if you need it.

“We’ve got a great team in our office – Gillian and the guys are great. You always know they’re there – they’re like a little angel on your shoulder.”

Angie Williams works for RMG, a company that organises social housing for the London borough of Westminster. As one of our second prize winners, next year she’s off to sunny Spain with her family for a well-deserved holiday.

It’s a thought that will get her through the coming winter.

For Angie, being in UNISON means, quite simply, “protection”.

“I’ve always been in a union,” she explains. “It gives you peace of mind to know that there’s somebody there, watching your back. I feel safer – and I feel privileged to be a member.”

She adds that her work illustrates the importance of having up-to-date data, so it’s crucial for her union to have the same.

On top of that, the draw “encouraged people to join” and being able to contact members digitally will obviously save the union money on costs, such as postage.

General secretary Dave Prentis stressed that UNISON “is not an organisation that looks back, but one that looks forward,” adding that digital communication is an essential part of that future.

He thanked UNISON’s service providers, saying that they are “an integral part of the union” who help it to be “an organisation that moves forward”. He added that members often cite the importance of the services that the union offers as being as important to their membership as the traditional industrial support.

And those service providers had plenty of positive thoughts to share too.

“UNISON Protect has been working with UNISON for over seven years,” explained Dan Harrison (pictured above with Abigail Hunt and Dave Prentis), of the company that made the £10,000 prize possible.

“During that time, over 470,000 members have registered for our free insurance.

“People are consuming more and more digital content, which means it is more important than ever to have accurate records for members and to be able to have a timely two-way conversation with them – and that is why we were so delighted to support the Big Prize Draw”.

Sara McLelland from UIA, which provided the holidays for the second prize winners, noted that the company had been a “partner with UNISON for a very long time and we were really keen to support the union in this initiative.”

She added that UIA had “felt that the draw was very worthwhile and obviously it’s done really well in promoting the new UNISON Living to members back in the branches.”

Jason Freeman, from UNISON Health and Dental Plans, which provided the third prizes, said the company was “delighted to support UNISON and its initiative to help the membership keep up-to-date online.

“It’s a great way to stay informed on all the new things that are happening.

“We’ve already seen thousands of members try our new online claims website, meaning more people are getting their money back faster for their everyday health expenses like trips to the dentist and opticians.”

Head of digital at UNISON, Nick Scott, pointed out that the draw itself had been important in order to help the union “organise in the digital age”. And he noted that it wasn’t simply about young members – 10% of those who took part were retired members.

This week’s event might have been a brief one, but the benefits of the prize draw are going to be felt for a long time to come.

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